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Sleeping on Vick, KU football commitments and is it time for Marcus Garrett to join the starting lineup?

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Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (24) celebrates a run by The Jayhawks in overtime on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. Vick scored 27 points and hit a game-tying shot to send the game into overtime.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (24) celebrates a run by The Jayhawks in overtime on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. Vick scored 27 points and hit a game-tying shot to send the game into overtime. by Nick Krug

Just when I thought this whole Les Miles to Kansas hysteria had calmed down a little and we could move on to talking more about the basketball season that’s under way or what’s next for the football program as a whole, The Mad Hatter himself came flying out of the Allen Fieldhouse student section and onto the floor for a halftime introduction during last Saturday’s victory over Stanford.

OK, fine. Let the hysteria continue.

Miles is clearly going all-in on his time at Kansas and his confidence, in himself and the team, is boiling over nearly every time we hear from him.

That’s a good thing for the program and the university and can only help bring some momentum back to Kansas football.

Wild to think that just a handful of days after Kansas hires a man of Miles’ caliber, Kansas State officially said goodbye to legendary head coach Bill Snyder.

That news, if you haven’t heard yet, became official on Sunday and it could have a huge impact on Kansas football.

For starters, the Jayhawks have always been better off — from the 1980s to present day — when Snyder has been somewhere else during the Sunflower Showdown.

Beyond that, though, Snyder’s retirement and the changing of the guard in Manhattan opens the door for Miles and Kansas to make up some ground when it comes to in-state recruiting.

That, as much as anywhere, is where you win these annual KU-K-State battles and Miles already has made it clear that he understands the importance of winning the state, both on game day and in the recruiting wars.

I have little doubt that K-State will hire a terrific replacement for Snyder, but the next couple of weeks and the transition as a whole gives KU a real opportunity to make up some ground on their rival to the west.

All right, let’s get right to this week’s batch of questions.

Be sure to keep the questions coming in the comments below, in response to our Twitter requests, on Twitter via the hashtag #AskKUsports or by email at sportsdesk@ljworld.com

None by Tim Gershon

I like the question and I see why you’re asking, but I’m definitely not sleeping on Vick.

The dude’s crazy talented, more confident than ever and is the only one on this roster who can legitimately carry himself with that, “I’ve seen it all, man” mentality. That’s so valuable to a team.

The reason I had Garrett pencilled in over Vick as a starter all offseason was twofold. First, it was based on a few conversations I had with a few people after Vick was welcomed back. I wasn’t sure if he would be given the opportunity to start so I played the odds. Clearly, his attitude, effort and performance trumped that and he’s been a starter since Day 1.

Second, it’s not as if I was putting a walk-on out there in his spot. Garrett’s a stud and does so many things that Bill Self absolutely loves. Again, I played the odds there, as well.

If you listened to our most recent KU Sports Hour podcast, you heard that I picked Vick as my choice for team MVP through the first half of nonconference play.

(If you haven’t listened yet, go check it out to see who Benton and Shane picked)

I realize that’s not a huge surprise nor is it something different than what thousands and thousands of KU fans would have picked, but it is an indication that I’m not sleeping on the guy.

He’s been sensational and KU is still unbeaten largely because of him. He’s also been a blast to watch and much more fun to cover, as well. KU coach Bill Self has said it, but Vick looks like he’s having fun out there and is playing with a ton of joy.

As for the Dotson part of your question, that has nothing to do with Vick and everything to do with my thoughts on Devon Dotson. The kid is off to a sensational start and has flashed some serious game while being asked to carry a pretty large load.

Oh, and he’s only going to get better.

Vick’s a star and he’s been spectacular so far. But Dotson has been the most consistently impressive player on both ends in my opinion, simply because he’s doing all of this as an 18-year-old freshman and delivering.

The chemistry between Vick and Dotson is pretty cool to watch right now and neither player would be quite as good without the other.

From Ron Rutkowski via email

Marcus Garrett….He has a ton of talent, but cannot shoot. Awesome on Defense, but a bit of liability on Offense. He can slash, cut, dunk, but weak on the outside shot and always seems to be short. Has anyone ever had him tested for “Depth Of Perception”---easily fixable— glasses and/or vitamins.

This is so interesting to me, Ron, but I have not heard one thing about Garrett’s vision as being a part of his problem.

I talked for over an hour with his uncle — and AAU coach — about Garrett’s shot heading into the offseason and his eyes never came up. It was all about form, technique and repetition.

I hear what you’re saying, though, and, at least somewhat, can speak from experience. I wear glasses to correct nearsightedness — mostly for driving and at night but pretty much wear them all the time since the prescription is so mild — and I’ve always wondered if I wore them when I played ball if it would help my game.

I still play 2-3 times a week with a group of dudes ranging in age from 24 to 50 and we all have pretty good basketball backgrounds and get after it. But I never wear glasses or goggles or contacts when I play.

It hasn’t really hurt my shot — I’m much more of a passer, defender and screener to begin with — but I do notice a difference when I take my glasses off when I get into the gym.

I’ll poke around on Garrett’s situation and try to find out if there’s anything there. But I would doubt it. For one, I think his shooting woes are just a comfort thing and getting that fixed is a work in progress. For two, I’m not sure that I’ve noticed him being short on his shots like you have. So I’ll keep an eye on that, too.

Interesting question, though.

None by Dustin Mechnig

Speaking of Garrett, let’s jump in on him a little more here. I actually was going to write a blog about this today anyway, so we might as well just handle it here.

I definitely think a case could be made for him sliding into the starting lineup, but here’s why it might — MIGHT — not happen.

If Self goes to Garrett and is relying on Grimes off the bench, it could put the team in an even tougher spot. Right now, Grimes starts and hits the floor with the confidence that comes from that and then shows that he either has it or doesn’t. Most days so far, it’s been the latter, but at least Self has had somewhere to turn, with both Garrett and Charlie Moore sitting on the bench.

If Self benches Grimes and goes with Garrett, he could find himself in a tough spot if Garrett were to get into foul trouble or have an off night himself. Then, he’d be asking a player like Grimes, confidence potentially shaken by the benching, to go out there and play through it after the benching. That probably wouldn’t do much in the way of helping him snap out of his funk.

I think a strong case can be made for either decision — to continue starting Grimes or benching him — but based on the way Self continues to pump his confidence that Grimes will be fine, my guess is he’s going to ride it out for a little while longer before making any major changes.

After all, giving Grimes a chance to show he’s engaged and then going with someone else if he isn’t hasn’t hurt Kansas yet.

None by Matt

I’m mildly surprised that no one has — in fact, I would’ve put money on Jayden Russell committing on Sunday after a visit this weekend and taking in that KU basketball game — but I don’t think it’s panic time yet.

Miles is a big name and a nice draw for Kansas, but it’s not as if these kids he’s contacting are going to jump all in at the first phone call. They still have others recruiting them and need to take a real look at Kansas before signing up to play for the Jayhawks simply because the new head coach won a national championship a dozen years ago.

I think what’s been most impressive about Miles’ efforts so far is the fact that he’s hitting the state hard like he said he would. I’ve seen all kinds of kids from the state of Kansas post to Twitter that they’ve been offered Preferred Walk-On spots by Kansas (PWOs) and that, as much as any commitment, is a sign that Miles is really trying to build this thing through an emphasis on the Sunflower State.

Many KU coaches have talked about it, but few have done it. If Miles can get that done, the commits will come and the wins and better days just might follow.

None by Frank Saunders

This is such a fascinating question to me because I keep thinking back to last year and what I might have said at the midway point of the season if someone had asked me about De Sousa’s potential impact later in the season.

After those first few games, where he couldn’t play more than a minute or two and looked so out of sorts out there on the floor, it would’ve been hard to predict that he’d do what he did in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments for the Jayhawks.

But he did.

Now De Sousa’s in a much different situation and the question with him is whether he’ll even be given the opportunity to contribute.

Nothing’s new on that front — at least not that we’re aware of — so the question comes down to this: Which is more likely, Grimes snapping out of his funk or De Sousa playing at all?

I’m not really sure where I stand these days on whether De Sousa has a chance to play. (I’m probably leaning more toward no than ever before) But I do know that plenty of people at KU are still of the belief that it can happen.

That said, I think the odds are much greater that Grimes will snap out of his funk and start to figure out how to play at this level.

Right now he’s thinking way too much and is in his own head. Self called it a mental block. That’ll go away with more time, more reps and some success. So my money’s on Grimes here and that’s probably the case even if De Sousa is cleared to play.

Grimes is too talented and too full of potential at a position where KU could really use him to not figure it out at some point.

That Michigan State game was something to watch but it might actually have been a bit of a temporary detriment to Grimes, who has not played with the same free mind and confidence since that night. Could it be because his own expectations were too high after that and now anything other than hitting 6 of his first 7 3-pointers seems like a disappointment?

Could be. Or it could simply be a case of a freshman needing time to adjust.

Comments

John Strayer 1 week, 1 day ago

Grimes just needs to find some other way to contribute to the team while he is searching for his confidence in his shot. Focus on defense, or something else.

Buck Bukaty 1 week, 1 day ago

For all the yahoos who continue to drivel that HCBS will soon head to the NBA, Fred Hoiberg (the "Mayor") was just fired by the Bulls. Can't imagine why Coach Self would take a leap to that kind of job security just for up-front big money. He has his dream job that includes big money AND relevance.

Linda Frost 1 week, 1 day ago

I thought the BB yell leaders used to lead the crowd in the last minute "Rock Chalk" chant. This year, even if the crowd gets the chant started, the yell leaders do not join in. Is this considered taunting now? Hope you can help with this very important question!

Terrence D Cernech 1 week, 1 day ago

Grimes will be fine as he is a freshman getting time under his belt. His upside is much greater than Garret's. The bigger question in my mind is will Garrett be happy with settling into the role of a "glue" guy who does the many dirty little things that bind a team together, like defend, rebound, assist, hustle, get the 50/50 balls (like Lightfoot) or will he continue at times to throw up a bunch of wild and crazy shots.

Tony Bandle 1 week, 1 day ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Will "The Mayor" run for re-election in Hilton Colosseum?

2] Marcus does so many things that Bill likes.....I guess Bill doesn't like a guard who can hit a 12 foot jumper.

3] If Quentin Grimes makes just one basket, that will be one basket more than Silvio will make this entire season. The NCAA will take the gutless route and do nothing.

4] If Coach Miles wins 4 games next season and stays competitive in, oh let's say, 5 of the remaining 8, I think that, besides all this over the top enthusiasm, that will be an acceptable start for resuscitating KU football. To make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...you gotta catch the sow first!!

5] As I stated earlier, if Wofford stays within 10 of KU, I will have a dinner of beets, fried grasshoppers and liver covered with melted head cheese!

6] Vick has something to prove to Coach Self, Jayhawk Nation and, most importantly, to himself. I don't see him slacking off much unless teams start triple teaming him!

7] Would someone PLEASE call Rick Barry to come to Lawrence and show Dok how to make a foul shot. His son was part of a KU National Championship....I now Rick would come!!

Dirk Medema 1 week, 1 day ago

Matt - Any correlation between Vick becoming alpha dog and Grimes disappearing?

Rob Byrd 1 week ago

I, personally, think that is a great question Dirk.

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